Due to challenges in transitioning traders to the new platform, the UK’s HMRC will continue to operate its customs system after the September 30 deadline.
As the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) went into action, Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) was scheduled to be turned off for imports at the end of the month and continued for exports until the following year.
However, the government revenue department today announced that CHIEF would continue to be used by people unable to transition to CDS.
HMRC has been advising firms to switch to the Customs Declaration Service immediately and is offering assistance and support to help traders get ready for the change because registration and implementation might take some time. In cases where importers cannot file import declarations themselves, the Department has been recommending importers to hire customs agents who can do so on their behalf.
In order to use CHIEF for imports beyond September 30, HMRC is allowing CHIEF badge holders who cannot locate or hire a suitable customs agent before that date to request a brief extension. The business must apply using an online form and must have a compelling business justification. The company’s EORI number is required for this.
Those who are granted an extension will receive assistance moving to the CDS as soon as possible. Businesses utilising CHIEF for imports without authorisation starting on October 1, 2022 risk having their access terminated by HMRC.
However, HMRC recognises that a small percentage of declarants cannot fully move their imports. These merchants are exempt from submitting a renewal application to use CHIEF for imports. The UK Tax and Customs Service (HMRC) will contact these business owners immediately.
The “slight relaxation” in the CDS implementation schedule was welcomed by the British International Freight Association (BIFA) and Agency Sector Management (ASM), albeit they pointed out that individuals who had not tried to convert would not be able to benefit from the concession.
“We felt that the degree of readiness across all stakeholders in the supply chain was not sufficiently advanced to ensure a smooth transition,” said Peter MacSwiney, chair of ASM.
“This strategy is practical and demonstrates that HMRC has been paying attention to the lobbying until there is confidence that the new system is properly designed, robust, and tested.”
HMRC has urged trade groups to relay the following information to their members this week regarding the continued access procedure:
- Beginning October 1, 2022, all import declarations must be submitted through the Customs Declaration Service. Now is the time for trades to take action, and resources are accessible on Gov.UK and YouTube.
- Importers who are aware they won’t be prepared by the deadline can think about hiring a customs agent.
- HMRC is enabling CHIEF badge holders to apply for a brief extension to use CHIEF beyond September 30th provided they have a valid business justification for continuing to use CHIEF after CDS becomes mandatory for import declarations. To do so, you must fill out an online application, with instructions available on the website, Gov.UK.
- Those who are granted an extension will be given every resource they need to transition to the Customs Declaration Service as painlessly as possible.
- Because of their inability to migrate all of their imports, a small subset of declarants are exempt from the requirement to apply for continued use of CHIEF for imports. HMRC will get in touch with those declarants personally to let them know.
- HMRC may revoke users’ access to CHIEF if they continue to do so without permission beyond October 1, 2022.